Cultivation: VERY EASY
Seed Saving: Beginners
Okra (Albesmoschus esculentus)
Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus): its name refers to its edible seedpods, but it is also known as "Lady's Fingers" and "Gombo". This is a very important vegetable crop in West Africa, in Asia, and the Southern US where it is a very important ingredient of Cajun Cuisine. The plant is herbaceous and annual, its flowers display a beautiful yellow and a crimson centre and the the pods/fruits are the edible part, they are about 10 - 25 cm long, and contain lots of seeds.
To be sown a month after the last freeze, it wil flower two months after planting and will be ready for seed collection a few wakes later, it has very few water needs, and doesn't need a rich soil. It is ery easy to save the seeds because it doesn't really hybridize with other vegetables in your garden, so ir isa only necessary to wait for the pods from the best plants to dry and open them to collect the seeds. As usual, you just need to storage them away from humidity and they will keep until sowing time.
What makes Okra so important and popular is its versatility and nutritional properties; its is high in potassium, vitamin B, vitamin C, follic acid, and calcium, it has a high dietary fiber content, while being low in calories. Its pods are one of the main ingredients in the famous Southern American cuisine, its dried seeds provide oil, protein, vegetable curd, and are also used as coffee substitute, the foliage can be used for biomass, and the dried stems as a source of paper pulp or fuel.
This an incredible vegetable unfairly overlooked by many, it has lots of benefits and the whole of it can be put to a good use; also, by just typing "Okra Recipes" hundres of delicious soups and stews will appear to bring a bit of the taste of the traditional Cajun Cuisine, great Comfort Food for the cold months. A must in every healthy, complete garden!
For more information on the nutritional properties and health benefits of Okra you can visit: https://www.aessensegrows.com/en/fresh-produce-catalog/okra
For more information on its many uses: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/okra